Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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Gorsedh Kernow


The Celtic spirit of Cornwall


St Piran’s Day Book Launch


A ground-breaking new book about bard of Gorsedh Kernow, Robert Victor Walling (1895-1976), soldier, poet, journalist and writer with a special interest in the Cornish language, is being published on St Piran’s Day, Saturday 5th March, 100 years after its original publication and exactly 121 years after the birth of the author.


“Scryfer – R.V.Walling”, has been researched and compiled by former Grand Bard Ann Trevenen Jenkin, Bryallen, the result of months of painstaking work by several bards of Gorsedh Kernow, including Stephen Gadd, Reskadinnick, who has translated Walling’s original words and designed and produced the layout.


Encouraged by his father Robert Alfred Walling, who was also a bard, the young R V Walling had been inspired by Henry Jenner’s Handbook of the Cornish Language, first published in 1904.  As he lay injured in a French military hospital during the First World War, R V Walling drew on this inspiration and turned his attention to a deeper study of Cornish and while recuperating from his injuries, he produced a magazine called “An Houlsedhas” (‘The West’), an illustrated manuscript in his own handwriting.  


“This important book is being published as a facsimilie of “An Houlsedhas” for the very first time,” said Mrs Jenkin, “and will add considerably to our broad study of the Cornish language written during the First World War.”


R V Walling was made a bard of Gorsedh Kernow in 1934 taking the bardic name Scryfer an Mor, Sea Writer.  The long awaited publication of his illustrated magazine, translated into English, has never been seen before by the general public.


“The original text has been translated by Stephen Gadd, from Camborne, a new bard living and working in London,” said Mrs Jenkin, “and he has worked extremely diligently on what has been a fascinating but sometimes difficult project.”


“This ground-breaking book is a valuable addition to other documents in the Cornish language,” said Grand Bard Merv Davey,“and Gorsedh Kernow, along with the Cornish Language Board, is very proud to support its publication.”


“Skryfer – R V Walling” will be launched by Jori Ansell, Caradok, past Grand Bardof Gorsedh Kernow and currentChairman ofthe recently launched Cornish Language Academy, at 6pm at Camborne Rugby Club, on St Piran’s Day, Saturday 5th March 2016.





Members of the press are welcome to attend the book launch in Camborne Rugby Club.  Kindly send your acceptance to Ann Trevenen Jenkin by email to pellgowser@btinternet.com  or tel 01736 850332  from whom you can also request further information about “Skryfer - R V Walling”.


“Scryfer - R.V.Walling,” A5 format, with some colour illustrations and black and white photographs, price £9.99 + postage. (Costs with postage: UK £11.50; Europe £15.00; rest of world £17.50.)  Copies of the book may be ordered and paid for in advance from Ann Trevenen Jenkin (see details above) or collected from the launch itself on 5th March or from other Gorsedh Kernow or Cornish language events during the year, where they will also be on sale.


R V Walling had a distinguished career as a journalist, interrupted by war service.  He was wounded at Passchendale and invalided out of the army.  In 1916-17, while recuperating from his injuries, he produced the magazine “An Houlsedhas” (‘The West’), an illustrated manuscript in his own handwriting.  There are three unfinished issues, each accompanied by his watercolour drawings.


There is a moving article in “Skryfer – R V Walling” by bard Tim Saunders, Bardh Gwerin, on his recollections of R V Walling, and a detailed biography by Ann Trevenen Jenkin,who compiled the book with the valuable help of Stephen Gadd, Mark Dungey, Donsyor Lanust and Esther Johns, Tamm Steren. There are several appendices, giving the flavour of Robert Walling’s writings, and the essence of his time.


R A J and R V Walling’s letters and correspondence, R V W's military handbooks, booklets on journalism, press cuttings books, newspapers, material relating to the First World War, Plymouth Corporation Grammar School Debating and Literary Society minutes and school magazines, Parliamentary elections pamphlets and reports, and miscellaneous items are all held for research at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.


For further information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact

Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow,

email  communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk  or tel  01736 799305

or visit our website www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk





Gorsedh Kernow Festival at Newquay – 1st September

Civic Parade & Bardic Ceremony


On behalf of the Gorsedh Kernow Local Organising Committee and Newquay Old Cornwall Society please find enclosed the instruction, map and information relating to the events on 1st September at The Gorsedh Kernow Festival.


All societies should have received the Grand Bard’s invitation and the attached is just to elaborate on the information he provided and also regarding additional morning civic parade. The questionnaire is to ascertain the numbers coming to both events so that arrangements can be made regarding seating, refreshments and transportation if necessary.


The Federation is also very keen to put on a good show of unity and publicity and would like as many societies represented as possible. Some of the questions reflect that and we would like to help those societies who would like to be represented, but for one reason or another may not be able to attend.  Contingency plans are in hand so that local banner bearers can be provided to carry those society’s banners. We hope that all societies will be able to attend but otherwise please help us to help your society’s banner to be paraded.


Please return your form as soon as possible, we understand that Gorsedh Kernow have set a date of 10th August and we are trying to fit in with them as far as possible. We will liaise with Gorsedh Kernow if some forms are a little later coming back.


We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at Newquay and have ordered good weather, hopefully it hasn’t all ready been used up this summer.


Thank you.




Len Sheppard

Chairman: Newquay Old Cornwall Society

Coordinator: Newquay Heritage Archive & Museum

Bardh Meur Launceston 2017 (1)

Bardh Meur Launceston 2017


Holyer an Gof 2018


Awards winners announced


Gorsedh Kernow has announced the winners of the annual Holyer an Gof Publishers’ competition at a prestigious Awards ceremony held on Wednesday 11th July, hosted for the first time by the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro with special guest mc Jon Cleave, Lev Enev an Tir frontingthese popular Awards.  


“We are very grateful indeed for the support shown over previous years by Andrew Forster, manager of Waterstones in Truro and his hard working staff,” said Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, “and I am pleased that Holyer an Gof books will continue to be available for purchase in their Truro store.”


Established and organised by Gorsedh Kernow to raise the standard and profile of publishing in Cornwall, this year’s winners were once again chosen from the best, recently published books about Cornwall or in Cornish.


“We usually receive a good number of entries in the fiction for adults class although that is up by 35% this year and we are very pleased indeed to see more than a 50% increase in entries to the non-fiction history, language and creative arts class,” said Holyer an Gof co-organiser Gareth Parry, Mab Meliner Gwlan.


Gorsedh Kernow, now celebrating its 90th anniversary year as an organisation creating and promoting real Cornish culture, is keen to build on this success and has accepted gratefully the offer of holding its prestigious Awards evening at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.


“We are delighted to be hosting the Gorsedh Kernow Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards evening here at the Royal Cornwall Museum,” said Royal Institution of Cornwall Director Ian Wall, “and we look forward to welcoming publishers, authors and other guests as they anticipate the results.”


The winners of the 2018 Gorsedh Kernow Holyer an Gof Publisher’s Awards are:



Class 1.1 – Cornish language books for children


Ted a Rewl an BysbyFrank Cottrell-Boyce, translated by Pol Hodge, published by Barrington Stoke.



Class 1.2 – Cornish language books for adults


Dicky Hollaby Rod Lyon, published by Kesva an Taves Kernewek.



Class 1.3 – Books translated into Cornish


Pystrior Marthus Pow OzbyL. Frank Baum, translated by Nicholas Williams, published by Evertype.



Winner of the Kowethas an Yeth Cup for authorship or translation from Class 1


Dicky Hollaby Rod Lyon, published by Kesva an Taves Kernewek.



Class 2.0  - Books for children of primary age


A Song for Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan by Hilary Robinson & Martin Impey, published by Strauss House Productions.



Class 2.1  - Books for young adults


The Ghosts of Blackbottle Rock by Martyn Beardsley, published by Our Street Books, John Hunt Publishing.




Winner of the Gorsedh Kernow Ann Trevenen Jenkin Cup


A Song for Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan by Hilary Robinson & Martin Impey, published by Strauss House Productions.



Class 3 – Adult Fiction


Dan Daddow's Cornish Comicalities by Alan M Kent, published by Ryelands (Halsgrove).


Runner –up To Untie a Sealed Knot by S.J. Haxton, self published via Boswell Book Publishing.



Class 4 – Poetry


A Certain Man edited by Simon Parker, published by Scryfa.



The Holyer an Gof Trophy, awarded to one of the winners in classes 1 to 4.


Dan Daddow's Cornish Comicalities by Alan M Kent, published by Ryelands (Halsgrove).



Class 5.0 – Non Fiction – History, Language and Creative Arts


Hark! The Glad Sound of Cornish Carols by Hilary Coleman and Sally Burley, published by Francis Boutle Publishers.


Runner-up A Cornish Celtic Way by Nigel Marns, self published.



Class 5.1 – Non Fiction – Marine, Industrial Heritage and the Environment


Penlee Lifeboat Station: Service not Self by Rachael Campney, published by the RNLI.



Class 5.2 – Non Fiction in which illustrations predominate


Stanhope Forbes: Father of the Newlyn School by Elizabeth Knowles, published by Sansom & Company.



Class 6 – Booklets


The Great Cornish Cake Bake Cake Book by Judy Lawton, published by Cornwall Hospice Care Ltd.



The new Federation of Old Cornwall Societies (FOCS) Holyer an Gof Cup – awarded to one of the winners in classes 5 and 6.


Hark! The Glad Sound of Cornish Carols by Hilary Coleman and Sally Burley, published by Francis Boutle Publishers.



HanG winners 2018

The 2018 winners


Back row left to right: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot (for Barrington Stoke); Katie Herbert (Sansom & Co); Elaine Trethowen (RNLI); Clive Boutle (Francis Boutle); Sally Burley (co-author Hark the Sound of Cornish Carols); Jan Pallett (Cornwall Hospice Care); Trounce Guy (reader - Song for Will).


Front row left to right: Steph Haxton (Boswell); Rod Lyon (author Dicky Holla); Grand Bard Merv Davey; Jackie Hamley (Strauss House); Hilary Robinson (author - Song for Will); Sarah Britton (RNLI); Ray Chubb (for Evertype).


Gorsedh Kernow Adults Awards 2018 announced


The Council of Gorsedh Kernow has announced the winners of their annual Adults Awards and Competitions after careful adjudication of this year’s impressive range of entries.



“Awards are being given to entries that express the Celtic spirit of real Cornish culture and demonstrate exceptional endeavour or quality of work,” said Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, “and as one of my final duties as Grand Bard of Cornwall I look forward to presenting prizes once again to all our talented winners.”



The scheme has once more drawn on a diverse range of work from Cornwall’s creative sector in Cornish language and dialect, Cornish studies and the arts including photography, performance, literature and design.  Gorsedh Kernow has also welcomed nominations for members of the wider community to receive an award for their work caring for Cornwall’s unique culture and identity.



“Gorsedh Kernow Awards and Competitions are very flexible these days,” said Merv Davey “and we positively welcome entries that encourage learning, understanding and promotion of real Cornish culture.”



The Gorsedh Kernow Adults Awards and Competitions winners for 2018 are:






1.1  Yeth Kernewek / Cornish Language


Tommas Tonkyn(Pol Hodge, Mab Stenak Vur) from Lambriggan - ‘Piesen yn Onnen (Magpies in Ash Trees)’


Kirsty Lauder from Saltash - short story for intermediate level Cornish - ‘Elowen’


Hilary Payne from Newquay -  short story for intermediate level Cornish - ‘Kellys!’




1.2  Ranyeth / Cornish Dialect


Peter Harwood, Gwas Lanceles from Stratton – short story - ‘Aunt Annie’


Julian Kitto from Helston – Cornish dialect poetry  - ‘Cornish Legends Re-Visited’




1.3  Studhyansow Kernewek / Cornish Studies


Ben Gilby based in London – academic paper focussed on the contemporary perceptions and developments in the renaissance of Kernewek


John Jenkin, Carrek an Jowl from Bodmin  - ‘The Call of Distant Lands’



1.4  Skeusenieth / Photography


James Kitto from Helston – 6 photographic images







2  Awenekter / Creativity


The Glenda Hartland Award for design


Wendy Simpson, Nedhores Restir from Withiel – two tapestry pictures


Gwenno, based in Cardiff -recent album in the Cornish language – ‘Le Kov’



The Glenda Hartland Award for projects that engage people with Cornish culture


Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor & Dave Brotherton from St Ives for Tir ha Tavas’ multi faceted show ‘Towl Ros!/Cast Net!’



Sue Ellery-Hill from St Just – English verse on a Cornish subject ‘O Herensa Brythlen’ (My Tartan Love).


Sue Ellery-Hill from St Just – short story set in Cornwall ‘Lamorna Winking’.


Jamie Toms and Lauren Chandler from St Dennis for their performance at the Stadium, Festival Interceltique Lorient, Brittany.


Angela Udy-Mackinnon, Cannas Ylow ha Dons from St Wenn – needle felting images on slate ‘Vanishing Cornwall, The Rumps’ and ‘Vanishing Cornwall, Roche Rock’.




3  Kemeneth / Community


Len Sheppard from Newquay for his community and heritage work in Newquay.


Jan Lokan from McLaren Vale, South Australia – community award for her work with Kernewek Lowender, Australia in 2017.


Robin Spowart from Newquay for bringing real Cornish culture to the Newquay community with his work for St Piran’s Day.


Sheila Vanloo from St Austell - community award for her work with the arts and culture scene in Cornwall and her work with Radio St Austell Bay.



Mike Hartland Award for work which engages people in Cornish culture


Penryn Production Partnership – community award for the Kemeneth heritage celebration in Penryn.



Special Awards


Tony Snell, Gwas Kevardhubased in Oxford - community award for his contribution to the promotion of the Cornish language through the medium of folk songs.  


Paul Phillips from Helston - community award for his work on the Cornish dialect.


Pewas Map Trevethan Award (Paul Smales Award) 2018


Miss Carol Goodwin based in Kent – for her invaluablesupport to the London Cornish Association as Chairman, membership Secretary, website co-ordinator and photographer.



London Cornish Association Shield 2018


Ms Jacqueline Trembath based in London – for herimportant work as Treasurer of London Cornish Association and representing the LCA at key outside events.



Gorsedh Kernow congratulates successful Cornish language candidates



Gorsedh Kernow has warmly welcomed news of the results from this year’s Cornish language examinations.  KESVA - The Cornish Language Board - set up in 1967 by Gorsedh Kernow and the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, has announced another year of impressive results from the 77 candidates who took their exams in June.


“Once again we are congratulating an increased number of successful candidates, almost 15% up on last year, who are joining the growing number of people learning and taking exams in our precious Cornish language, Kernewek,” said Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, “ and I would like to say ‘Keslowena dhywgh hwi oll’ which means ‘Congratulations to you all’ in Cornish, you have all worked so hard.”


The results are spread across the four grades of examinations currently offered by the Cornish Language Board with the largest group of candidates based in Cornwall and after last year’s big increase in the number of students taking first grade exams, numbers in the higher grades are now gradually increasing.


“Kernewek is such a beautiful language,” said Merv Davey, “and a very important part of Cornish culture. We are seeing more and more examples of our language in our everyday lives, in shops, outside Council offices and police stations, online and on our tv screens with the Kelly’s ice cream ads! Many people want to know more about Cornish identity and we would enourage everyone to embrace Kernewek as part of our shared heritage. It doesn’t matter if you are Cornish born or not, it’s what is in your heart that matters and Kernewek plays a big part in many people’s lives.”


The Grand Bard once again expressed his enormous gratitude to all the hardworking teachers and examiners, many of whom are bards of Gorsedh Kernow, who give a lot of their own time to help a variety of people of all ages and backgrounds learn Cornish at classes, with self teach books or individual online courses.


“The Council of Europe has long since recognised the Cornish people and the importance of our cultural assets, such as Kernewek, under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities ” said Merv Davey, “and once again we call on HM Government to honour their commitment to the Cornish people and reconsider their cuts to Cornish language funding.”




The successful candidates for 2018 are:




First Grade:  Pass with Distinction


Raymond Bridgewater, St Ives


Paul Craze, Bristol


Wendy Dowse, Liskeard


Joseph Enys, Falmouth


Melanie Frankell, St Ives


Ivor Frankell, St Ives


Kerensa Moyle, Bristol


Fiona O'Cleirigh, Penzance


Amanda Odgers, Truro


David Pollard, Falmouth


Courtenay Rule, Dartford


Lucy Seale, Truro


Karen Sellwood, Falmouth


Carole Street, Redruth


Pam Vincent, Bristol


Christina Wheeler, Camborne




First Grade:  Pass


Chris Beare, Truro


Linda Beskeen, Redruth


Susan Dabb, Truro


Cas Davey, Redruth


Andrea Dube, Sant-Servez, Brittany


Anna Dunstan, Bodmin


Christopher Ellery-Hill, Penzance


Charlie Fripp, St Agnes


Sarah Fuller, Helston


Kim Hopewell, St Austell


Moira King, St Austell


Thomas Pawley, Liskeard


Tracy Pithie, St Austell


Diane Pomroy, St Austell


Claire Rondel, Kallag, Brittany


Judith Scrimshaw, Helston


Sara Thorolfsdottir, Penzance


David Wheeler, Camborne




First Grade:  Pass in Part


Jack Bolitho, Truro




Second Grade:  Pass with Distinction


Frances Bennett, Truro


Kirsty Lauder, Saltash


David Matthew, Penzance


Rita Nield, St Just


William Orchard, Penzance


Tony Phillips, Penzance


Deborah Pollard, Redruth


Kevin Steede, Gunnislake




Second Grade:  Pass


Colin Allen, Godalming


Jennifer Blockley, Launceston


Marie-Hélène Croizier, Ploumagoar, Brittany


Linnea Glynne-Rule, Camborne


John Goody, Scilly


Lee Kellgren, Penryn


Emily Keverne, Redruth


David Knott, Liskeard


Joseph Lewis, Redruth


William S. Pellow, Falmouth


Howard Peskett, Penzance


Victoria Reece-Romain, Liskeard


Nanette Tonkin, St Austell


Matthew Underwood, Plymouth


Jennifer Worth, Launceston





Third Grade:  Pass with Distinction


Kensa Broadhurst, Truro


Owain Holland, Fowey


Andrew Johnson, St Austell


Wella Morris, Penzance



Third Grade:  Pass


Judith Cayzer, Launceston


Lisa Crosswood, Liskeard


Yannig Laporte, Kemper, Brittany


Gilles Pennec, Kemper, Brittany


Samuel Rogerson, Grampound Road


Barbara Wyper, St Columb Major





Fourth Grade:  Pass with Distinction


Andrew Bolton, Brussels, Belgium


Ann Short, St Austell


Ashley Taylor, Launceston




Fourth Grade:  Pass


Alice Holland, Helston


Jamie Purves, Truro


Colin Short, St Austell


Marion Smith, St Ives




Fourth Grade:  Pass in Part


Helen Pascoe, Camborne


Wayne Tonkin, Redruth

Banner Bearers Questionnaire OCS Banner Bearer's Information

Gorsedh Kernow names 16 new Bards for 2018


A deep feeling of pride in being honoured with Cornish bardship will be plain


to see this year as 16 proud initiates, 8 of whom are from outside Cornwall, wait to take their place among the 500 or so existing members of the College of Bards of Gorsedh Kernow.




Gorsedh Kernow, now in its 90th anniversary year, was established with the aim of celebrating and promoting Cornwall’s distinctive Celtic culture and the major tourist destination town of Newquay provides the setting for this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival which includes the iconic blue robed bardic ceremony on Saturday 1st September.


The high point of the ceremony, which starts at 2pm on the Barrowfields, will be the inauguration of the 16 new bards in recognition of their outstanding work in serving Cornwall and her distinctive Celtic identity.


“Being awarded a bardship is a great honour,” said Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn “especially as the ceremony is conducted in front of gathered members of the College of Bards, alongside representatives of our sister Celtic nations of Wales and Brittany, other Cornish organisations and friends and families that support Gorsedh Kernow and come together on this special occasion to celebrate our precious Cornish culture.”


The importance of work done for Cornwall by people overseas is particularly recognised this year with half of the new bardships being conferred on people from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.




The new bards for 2018 are;


Nick Bartle, Wellington, New Zealand, for services to Cornish identity in New Zealand including work for the NZ Cornish Association.


Dave Brotherton, St. Ives, for services to Cornish music including writing and performing Cornish folk music as co-founder of Tir ha Tavas, Bagas Porthia and the revived St Ives Guisers.


Jean Charman, Camborne, for services to Camborne’s heritage and the Cornish in Mexico including twinning with the Cornish in Mexico and, as a Camborne councillor the protection and re-use of historic buildings in her home town.


Dick Cole, Fraddon, Truro, for campaigning for Cornwall’s cultural and geographical integrity.


Jane Darke, Porthcothan Bay, Padstow, for services to Cornish media including the promotion of films and other work by her late husband Nick Darke.


Mark Elton, Twickenham, London, by examination in the Cornish language and continuing work for Cornwall. He also helps organise Kernow in the City to celebrate St Piran each year in London.


Malcolm Gould, Luxulyan, for services to Cornish industrial history including talks on China Clay and work for the China Clay museum.                                            


Darren Hawken, Tideford, Saltash, for services to Cornish music.


Margaret Johnson, Morphett Vale, South Australia, for services to Cornish identity in South Australia. Sings with and leads the choir at Australian bardic gatherings and is a popular mc and public speaker at bardic events in Australia including Kernewek Lowender.


Jan Lokan, McLaren Vale, South Australia, for services to Cornish identity in South Australia. A hardworking member of the Kernewek Lowender organising committee.


Peter Meanwell, Washaway, Bodmin, for services to Cornish music including researching old Cornish music for performance by his own choir the Washaway Gallery Choir.


Jane Nancarrow, St.Stephens, Launceston, for services to Cornish literature. A pupil and disciple of Charles Causley who works hard for the Charles Causley Festival and is one of the finest readers of Causley’s poetry. She is also well remembered for her performance as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’ and had a leading role in Edward Woodward’s last film ‘A Congregation of Ghosts’.


Jonny Nance, Cullompton, Devon, for services to Cornish maritime culture. Builds traditional boats for St. Ives, which resulted in the formation of the Jumbo Association, named after the design of the boat, and the reappearance of unique Cornish luggers in St.Ives harbour. Grandson of Robert Morton Nance, Mordon and Bernard Leach, Resor an Nor.


Richard Damian Nance, Stratford, Connecticut, U.S.A., for services to Cornish identity in the U.S.A. A geologist with a particular interest in the geology of Cornwall, especially the Lizard.  He has also directed attention, with a view to increasing public access, to the only known surviving Cornish engine house in the U.S.A. which housed a massive Cornish engine known as ‘The President’. Grandson of Robert Morton Nance, Mordon and Bernard Leach, Resor an Nor.


Glen Ridnour, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, U.S.A., for services to Cornish identity in the U.S.A.


Carole Roberts, North Vancouver, Canada, for services to Cornish identity in Canada..